The Chinese foreign ministry lashed out at a German anthropologist for claiming in a BBC report that Uighur women in Xinjiang were subjected to targeted sexual abuse and torture. The ministry also accused Adrian Zenz of making up reports to defame China.
On Wednesday, BBC reported that Uighur women in camps were systematically raped, beaten and tortured using electric shocks. For the report, Zenz provided the news outlet with the 2017-2018 data of Kunes county in Xinjiang. It showed China's policies in the region for "transformation through education" of Uighurs by "washing brains, cleansing hearts, strengthening righteousness and eliminating evil."
However, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin dismissed the claims and blamed Zenz and BBC for defaming China. He also expressed doubts on the authenticity of the accounts of Uighur women interviewed by the outlet.
"After we learn all the facts, there will be a question mark in our heads when we read or hear the BBC's or Zenz's reports on Xinjiang again," Wang said.
He also noted that the names of BBC and Zenz often showed up during the criticism of China's policies in Xinjiang. Wang claimed that Zumrat Dawut, who BBC interviewed for its report, was never detained in camps and was not forced to get her uterus removed as reported by the news outlet.
Who is Adrian Zenz?
Adrian Zenz is a German anthropologist known for his research on treatment of Uighurs — an ethnic minority group in China — in Xinjiang. According to his LinkedIn bio, he is a senior fellow in China Studies at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, Washington, D.C.
Last June, Zenz published a report stating that Chinese authorities threatened to send Uighur women to detention camps for refusing to terminate pregnancies that were above birth quotas. The report also said that the women with fewer than two children were forcibly given intrauterine contraceptives and others were made to undergo sterilization procedures.
However, an editorial published in state-run Global Times lashed out at Zenz accusing him to slandering China's policies in Xinjiang.
"Under the vehement support of the Western media, including The New York Times and The Washington Post, Zenz gained infamy on the anti-China stage and has been welcomed as 'an expert on Xinjiang,'" the editorial stated last September. "He has received enthusiastic approval from anti-China politicians from the US and become a focal member of a research group on Xinjiang's vocational training and education center that was set up and controlled by a U.S. intelligence agency."
Who is Adrian Zenz? China Slams German Anthropologist Over Uighur Women Rape Claims